Charlotte Taylor takes a look at the trends in glass packaging and how it can be used to make your product stand out from the crowd

Differentiating your brand from your competitors has never been more important. Scan the average supermarket shelf and there’s an unprecedented range of different products all vying for the consumer’s attention.

Clearly the way products are packaged is a crucial part of the marketing mix – and even though it’s been around for thousands of years, glass is still one of the best materials to choose when it comes to making your brand stand out on the shelf. Glass is an extremely versatile material, and the bottles and jars that really catch the eye are the bespoke and embossed shapes that look bold and appealing.

Nine out of every ten bespoke designs we produce for our customers include unique embossing – names, slogans, logos or patterns embossed on the glass to enhance its appeal and make the container truly unique. And for those producers who can’t afford a completely bespoke design, there are some glass manufacturers out there (Beatson Clark included) who offer the flexibility of a standard bottle with custom embossing added, which saves on the cost of having totally new finish moulds made.

Advances in technology have revolutionised what designers can now achieve with embossing, and using the latest sculpting software means that the results are better defined and easier to manufacture.

Unlike traditional embossing, sculptured embossing can be achieved on multiple levels, creating intricate, lifelike detail and depth. This technology has been used to achieve textured effects such as wood grain and fruit peel, and it can also enhance the definition of scripted text and brand icons.

Beatson Clark has produced many bespoke embossed designs for customers, including a bottle featuring an idyllic country scene for STORY Drinks and two embossed, lightweighted square jars for The English Provender Company, whose brands include the popular Very Lazy range of cooking ingredients.

Apothecary style
Commissioning a unique, embossed bottle or jar is one way for your brand to stand out from the crowd. Another way is taking an existing container and finding a new and innovative use for it. Sometimes the visual disconnect between the type of container and the product inside can be enough to catch a consumer’s eye.

Craft beer pioneers BrewDog have a reputation for breaking the rules, and this year they have done the same with their choice of packaging. Backed by BrewDog, Scottish Distillery LoneWolf has produced a range of craft spirits, and its V3 prototype gin is sold in a Beatson Clark bottle originally intended for pharmaceutical products.

It is a growing trend that is hitting the craft distilling market and is expected to continue as brands look for a cost-effective way to distinguish their product from the competition. The apothecary style works perfectly with ‘boutique’ or ‘artisan’ spirits and can be achieved simply and effectively with an off-the-shelf medicine bottle.

LoneWolf V3 comes in a standard white flint 500ml Sloping Shoulder Flat bottle. Originally designed for medicines, the bottle has elegant lines and an unusual 9shape which help to emphasise the revolutionary nature of LoneWolf’s boundary-pushing product.

It’s not the first time a customer has found a novel use for one of our standard bottles and jars: last year London Rd Jam Jar Cocktails started selling its range of ready-to-serve premium cocktails in our 300ml glass food jar.

Other examples we’ve seen include a beer bottle used for tomato passata and candles and face creams packaged in food jars. The possibilities really are endless! This innovative and creative approach is really taking off in the food and drink sector, and it’s proving a convenient way for brands to find a new look for their product without going to the expense of commissioning a new design.

There seems no end in sight to innovation and creativity. As a packaging material glass may have the longest history, but it’s also at the forefront of new trends and technological advances which are helping brands to stand out.

Case study: Henderson’s Relish
Henderson’s Relish – known locally as Hendo’s – has been made in Sheffield since 1885, and the family-owned firm teamed up with Rotherham-based Beatson Clark to update the product’s packaging.

Victorian entrepreneur Henry Henderson used to encourage his customers to recycle their bottles by bringing them back to be refilled. The new bottle designed by Beatson Clark continues this environmentally friendly theme as it contains 30 per cent recycled material, with up to ten per cent collected locally and processed in Beatson Clark’s onsite recycling plant.

The bottle has ‘Henderson’s Relish’ embossed above its signature label and ‘Henderson’s Sheffield’ on the base, a redesign that honours the memory of historic Henderson’s bottles from the early years of the last century.

The embossing was created using Beatson Clark’s state-of-the-art sculpting software. This allows the company to create complex designs and replicate them perfectly in the finish moulds, which results in a high-quality, well defined and consistent embossing.

“We are always very pleased to work with local businesses, and to design and manufacture a bespoke bottle for such a well known local brand as Henderson’s was a real pleasure,” said Chris Palmer, Business Development Manager at Beatson Clark in Rotherham.

“This is a great example of closed loop manufacturing because we recycle local domestic waste at our on-site recycling plant and re-use the glass to make new bottles and jars.”

Henderson’s Relish is still being blended to the original secret recipe of Henry Henderson. The recipe remains a secret only known to three family members.

Charlotte Taylor is Marketing Manager at Beatson Clark. Beatson Clark is one of the UK’s oldest businesses: it has been making glass bottles and jars on the same site in Rotherham since 1751. Today it specialises in providing glass packaging solutions for niche brands in the food, drink and pharmaceutical markets worldwide.